Yeah, well ignore it.
Sometimes, it’s ALL about saturation.
When asked where I wanted to visit on my recent Stateside vacation, one of the places on my list was the KidRobot store in Miami – the plastic fantastic, art toy paradisio – a visit perfectly timed in the city where Art Basel was unrolling down the night-time streets.
Art toys are about bright colours, challenge and perception and personality, an added edge of the more sinister or suggestive – and walking in to their carnival homeland was like a candy-striped pop-video, a Willy Wonka deluge of sculpted plastic brilliance. With fangs.
Suddenly, my London home really needed a four-foot Dunny in the corner of the lounge and a Labbit big enough to sit on.
The staff were hugely helpful – when they realised who I worked for, they took a great deal of pleasure in showing me round and talking about their favourite art. New ranges of blind-boxed Dunnys were their particular choice and my friend and I couldn’t help but go home with one each. After all, you have to have a souvenir!
As ever, though, it’s not just about the toys. As the phenomenon gets hotter and surges away from 3D plastic and into fur, feather and footwear, I could see that the store-sides were flanked with ranges of clothing and other goodies that would dearly love to burn a deeper hole in my wallet. T-shirts, bags and hats; accessories and jewellery, some of it under the counter in lust-inducing precious metals…
The staff were laughing at my enthusiasm. They were excited about Art Basel – and about the opportunity that it represented for new talent and custom. At the back of the store, almost overwhelmed by wall-art and shining pastel goodness, they had a display of gorgeous custom Munnys done by local talent – a perfect way to give new artists and designers recognition and opportunity.
In the Miami KidRobot store, I saw the boundaries of art toy and art culture coming down further than ever before. And, situated as close as it is to Miami Beach, I saw that the store’s customers were young, gorgeous and loving what they found – it made me realise something about what’s happening here.
This isn’t about toys, it isn’t about art – it’ isn’t even about blurring the lines that make a ‘fashion statement’.